When a single child gets missed on Christmas night, Santa’s son Arthur heads out on an incredible adventure to preserve the magic of Christmas
How does Santa really deliver a present to every kid in the world in a single night? That was the question which Peter Baynham
asked when penning the script. It’s an age old mystery and one which is given a rigorous technological spin in the latest movie from Aardman Animation.
A year on from its theatrical bow, Arthur Christmas
is finally making its way onto home video in time for another holiday season. It’s Aardman’s
second CG outing (after Flushed Away
), with the decision to move away from their traditional stop motion style mostly down to the large scale and action packed set pieces of the film.
Apart from introducing us to a new take on the Santa myth, Arthur Christmas
is really a story about family – in this case Santa, his wife, father and two sons. Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy
) loves the traditional ideas of Christmas, but has been banished to the mail room because his fuzzy logic and slippers don’t fit in with the new of thinking. It’s his brother Steve (Hugh Laurie
) who really runs the show and he’s clamouring to take over the job from his aging father (Jim Broadbent
When the error is made, Arthur must pluck up the courage to preserve the magic of the season and jets off with the curmudgeonly Grand-Santa (a wonderful Bill Nighy
) and an over-zealous gift wrapping elf (Ashley Jensen) to deliver that gift.Arthur Christmas
is a slightly unusual offering from Aardman
. The animation style moves away from their regular detail-oriented stop motion style and in the process becomes oddly simplistic, at least in comparison with other CG features. The story too has less warmth than usual, spending a lot of time focussed on the cold and detached technology of this new kind of Christmas.
Slow motion set pieces and cool gadgets have a big part to play in this film, perhaps an attempt to appeal to a more action obsessed crowd. With the addition of a strangely indifferent, if not downright mean, Santa Claus the film felt strangely cold to me, removed from the sense of Christmas as a magical time rather than a triumph of technology.
There’s altogehter too much cleverness here and too little emotion, alongside spotty performances and presentation.EXTRAS:
A fair amount of fluff including a 12 minute behind the scenes video called Unwrapping Arthur Christmas which features words from all the principals but not much else. Better are a series of progression reels with commentary that delves into the creation of certain settings and characters. There’s also the Justin Bieber music video and (gosh) a behind the scenes look at the filming!!